Tag Archives: march madness

Lunch: Madness Resumes, Plus Memes!

Still reeling from last night’s debacle, we’re switching back over to the college game. And how! This year’s Sweet 16 may have 5 or 6 absolute classics in sotre for us. Here are my picks for today, complete with very little explanation (trust me, when I have been wrong?):

Miami Over Marquette
Too much experience, especially in close games, for a Marquette team that did too much surviving just to get to this round.

Arizona Over Ohio State
I think it’s time to move Sean Miller into that “Shaka Smart, Brad Stevens, and Other Young College Coaches on the Rise” class.

Syracuse over Indiana
Syracuse could win this game, but they could also get blown out by 30. But isn’t that every game? Great coaching matchup here.

LaSalle Over Wichita State
Not a great week for the LaSalle Explorers, who had to deal with FGCU Mania despite making a Cinderella run of their own. It continues.

To welcome in the new weekend, here are some memes from the first weekend of March Madness. Enjoy, and enjoy the games tonight.

brain banker picard scumbag steve boromir brian toodanmnhigh stacey fry

Advertisements

Food for Thought: New Adidas Jersey’s are…?

The Big East Tournament has me captivated today. The Cincinnati Bearcats took on the Providence Friars in a second round match up that had no hype and no real reason for me to watch. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about the outcome and I really didn’t want to watch either of these bubble teams.

But I did. And it was all because of the uniforms.

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Adidas recently released 6 new jerseys for its flagship schools: Cincinnati, Baylor, Kansas, Louisville, UCLA, and Notre Dame. Now I know am a little late to the game, but after getting my first glimpse of in game action, I still don’t know what to think about seeing these fashion forward uniforms. Are they cool? Obnoxious?

(AP Photo/Adidas)

(AP Photo/Adidas)

At first, Cincinnati appears to be the sharpest with nice contrast and a good color combination. Overall, not that bad. But after watching them in game, I found the others. If it was just Cinci rocking these uniforms, I could get over. Heck, I’d probably even endorse it. But as for the others…I am fairly certain my eyes will bleed before the buzzer sounds.

I don’t exactly know what Adidas is going for, but if High School Lax bro was their goal, they nailed it. The shorts are right off the practice field, flaunting an obnoxious pattern with bright color highlights. Throw some shoulder pads under that pinnie and you have a full on laxer rocking a fitted cap and some sweet “flow”. The Notre Dame team most likely reacted like this when seeing their new attire.

As for the other teams, I don’t know if they were psyched or horrified.

Are these jerseys the nice? I for one am still trying to figure out if that is zebra print or some sort of camouflage. Either way, I’ll be watching all six teams, who at this point, appear to be tournament bound.

Weigh in with your thoughts here or hit us up on Twitter @TheOrangeWedge.

Lunch: Back in the Bubble

Joe Harris will need to play big if Virgina wants to dance (STEVE HELBER / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Joe Harris will need to play big if Virgina wants to dance (STEVE HELBER / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

We’re back for Lunch with another round of bubble teams. Picking up right where we left off:

Maryland (20-11) – In order for Maryland to overcome their sky-high computer numbers and make the tournament as an at-large, they’re going to have to make some serious noise in their last ever ACC tournament. Maryland will play Wake Forest in the first round and Duke in the quarterfinals, both must-win games.  A second win over the number one RPI team would usually be enough to make the tournament, but that would be only the fifth top-150 RPI win for Maryland all season. For a team with as many top-150 opportunities as the Terrapins have had (16), five wins doesn’t cut it. A win in the ACC semis over North Carolina might be enough to push them over the edge, but at that point they might as well just win the whole thing and grab an automatic bid on their way to the Big Ten.

Ole Miss (23-8) – Despite a lack of good wins (a home win against Missouri two months ago being the only one), Ole Miss wound up with the three seed and a double-bye in the SEC tournament. The Runnin’ Rebels are in line to play Missouri again in their first game. Even though the Tigers are the second-best team in a weak SEC, a second win over Mizzou doesn’t a tournament team make. The Rebels would then most likely play Kentucky in what would essentially be a play-out game. There’s no guarantee that wins in these two games would be enough to seal the deal, however, and Andy Kennedy may just have to find a way to win the league’s automatic bid to save his team’s season and quite possibly his job.

Temple (23-8) – Temple is in the best position of any team on this page. They took care of business on Saturday, beating VCU convincingly in the regular season finale. The Atlantic 10 tournament actually poses itself as more of a minefield than a profile booster for the Owls. As long as they can avoid a slip-up to a lesser team (starting with the George Washington-UMass winner in the quarterfinals), there’s almost no way Temple doesn’t go dancing.

Tennessee (19-11) – This is the definition of a profile right on the cut line. The Volunteers have four top-50 RPI wins, including an early-season battle with Wichita State and a marquee win over Florida. They also have a near .500 road/neutral record, something that is very important to the selection committee. On the flip side, they are 1-4 against teams on this page, having lost to Virginia, Kentucky, and twice to Ole Miss. It’s going to take a strong SEC tournament performance and perhaps a little bit of luck to go dancing. Tennessee will need to beat a bottom-feeder (South Carolina or Mississippi State) then Alabama in the quarterfinals to have a fighting shot. If Tennessee can’t take down the Gators one more time in the semis, they’ll be left hoping their bubble doesn’t burst on Sunday.

Virginia (21-10) – No team has ever made the tournament in its current form (since 1985) with as many sub-100 RPI losses as Virginia (seven). Only three teams have even made it with more than four such losses. For this reason the Cavaliers have their ACC tournament work cut out for them. They play the NC State-Virginia Tech winner in the quarterfinals, followed by a likely matchup with regular season winner Miami in the semis. If Virginia can find a way to beat Miami, they should find themselves on a bracket line come Sunday night.

My Picks: I see Boise State and Iowa State getting in based on the work they’ve already done and the fact that even a loss in the first round of their conference tournament won’t hurt too badly due to the quality teams both are playing (San Diego State and Oklahoma, respectively). Temple will get in because they are simply playing too well this late in the season to let a poor team get in the way. Kentucky is arguably better than any team in their half of the SEC bracket, and can make it to the tournament final with relative ease. La Salle will put up a fight against Butler, but win or lose will still make it based on the fact that they’ve won 10 road/neutral games, more than any other bubble team.

Ole Miss and Maryland have too many obstacles to overcome, and too few opportunities to do so. That leaves Tennessee, Baylor, and Virginia. Whichever team seizes the opportunities that their conference tournament presents will snatch up the last remaining bid. Based on the ease of the opponents they are facing, my money is on Tennessee. See you on Sunday.

 What do you think of our picks? Think Virginia can sneak in? Will Kentucky get a chance to repeat? Get at us @TheOrangeWedge

Breakfast: Breaking Bubbles

Kentucky still has work to do if they want to repeat as champs (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Kentucky still has work to do if they want to repeat as champs (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Most of the teams in this year’s field have already done enough to punch their ticket to the big dance, but some squads could use another quality win or two on their resume. This brings us to Championship Week, when teams that haven’t won enough regular-season games have the chance to come out of nowhere to win their conference tournament and “steal” a bid away from an at-large team. 37 bids are up for grabs, but after all of the “locks” are accounted for, that leaves just 6 bids.

Today we’re going to look at ten teams from various conferences.  These teams, which are certifiably “On the Bubble”, need some help over the next few days but are still in contention for the aforementioned final 6. The number-crunching and bracket-building all stops on Sunday, but for now it’s Bubble Time!

Baylor (18-13) – The Bears got a huge win last week, beating Kansas by 23. This bumped Baylor back up near the cut line, but right now they are still on the outside looking in. Scott Drew’s team draws Oklahoma State in the first round of the Big 12 tournament on Wednesday night, an opportunity they cannot pass up. Should the Bears lose they will have 14 losses, more than any team on the bubble, and will have to sit around waiting for the rest of the tournament pieces to fall into place. If Baylor can beat Oklahoma State however, they’ll most likely have done just enough to land on the right side of the bubble.

Boise State (21-9) – Boise State has been one of the most underrated teams in the bubble conversation. Not only are the Broncos the only team on this page with 4 top-35 RPI wins, they’ve also got the second-highest RPI, after Temple. The biggest blemish on this resume is the low non-conference strength of schedule, a measly but not crippling 217. If the boys in blue can beat San Diego State for a second straight time in Thursday’s Mountain West quarterfinal, they will be in for sure.

Iowa State (21-10) – Missed calls occur in sports almost daily, but rarely does a league commissioner admit to such mistakes. This was the case in Iowa State’s recent overtime loss to Kansas, where a missed charge at the end of regulation extended the game and deprived the Cyclones of a marquee win. Fortunately the Cyclones have done enough that they should be alright without one. They have beaten every other quality Big 12 tournament team and only suffered one truly bad loss in the process. They draw a struggling Oklahoma in the first round of the Big 12 tournament, and so long as they put up a fight, they should be fine come Selection Sunday

Kentucky (21-10) – One of the most intriguing bubble cases comes in the form of the defending champions. Granted, this team only returned 4 players from last year’s title team, none of which started in either season. The loss of star center Nerlens Noel a month ago nearly crippled this already under-performing team. But a recent win over Florida cat-apulted these Cats back into serious consideration. The Wildcats draw either Arkansas or Vanderbilt in the first round of the SEC tournament – a loss to either could drop them off the bubble for good. In the semis they would most likely draw the Missouri-Ole Miss winner. A win over one of these two teams could lock up a bid for John Calipari’s squad. However being that this game won’t take place until Saturday afternoon, mid-week bid thieves could make this another do-or-die game for the Cats.

La Salle (21-8) – La Salle has a very simple tournament path laid out – Win and you’re in. The Explorers get a bye to the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals, where they’ll face either Dayton or Butler. If it’s Dayton, they need to win to avoid their second sub-100 RPI loss. If they draw Butler, a win would be their second over the top-20 RPI Bulldogs, and would validate an already impressive resume. A loss to a very good Butler team probably wouldn’t hurt, but with the rest of the bubble teams trying to win important games at the same time, it could set them behind the rest of the field.

That’s the first five. But these teams do not have their spots reserved by any means. Which other teams want to take their place? Check back at lunchtime to find out, and we’ll also tell you which ones will actually have their names called come Sunday.

Breakfast: March Madness, February Frustration

I don't' know what to believe anymore (CHUCK BURTON / AP)

I don’t’ know what to believe anymore (CHUCK BURTON / AP)

It’s February 24th, and that means next month is March. Yes, the Madness will be right on schedule, but before we get there, we have to clear the air on this 2012-13 season. And by all means, it hasn’t been pretty. The talent level in college basketball has waned somewhat in the past 5 years or so, but not all will view this as a negative. Some years we have teams that are clearly better than the rest, and we’re forced to drag our feet through January and February, waiting for a conclusion we all saw coming. If you can predict how the last month of this season is going to unfold, well, you’re a very special boy.

While conference play still has a few weeks left, experts have already begun to speculate which teams will top each bracket. As of right now, Joe Lunardi’s four number one seeds are Indiana, Duke, Florida, and Gonzaga. That’s right, Gonzaga.

But my problem isn’t with Gonzaga. Well, it kind of is. My problem is that the only true top seed on that list is Indiana.

When the entire nation is as wide open as it is right now, it clouds the radar pretty effectively. Teams play well, then play bad, we can’t get a true measure of a team’s potential.

Would this be a bad time to mention the Miami Hurricanes? This is where I’m going with this one. This Hurricanes team can take the floor against any roster in the nation. Truthfully, yesterday would have been better to be so brash, before they lost by 15 at Wake Forest. But this is still a dangerous team, and despite the loss Saturday, still deserving of a number one seed.

Miami was by no means undefeated coming into yesterday’s upset (we’ll get to that later). But it was their first loss in ACC play, which I consider to be far more meaningful. My one problem with RPI, and measuring a team’s season, is that it doesn’t taken into account a season’s worth of growth. Teams get stronger as the season progresses, and a ranking system that reflects that would certainly help. Gonzaga’s top 3 RPI wins (Oklahoma, Kansas St, OK St.) all came in 2012. Do they really help a team in March? Miami has 5 ACC road wins thus far in 2013, including at UNC and ranked NC State. If they go into Duke next Saturday and silence the Cameron Crazies, Miami can officially win anywhere.

When I look for net-cutting candidates, I look at the close games in hostile environments like those Miami has played in. Tourney games always play close, and the experience of this team is one of their strengths. Speaking of experience, did I mention there were 6 seniors on this team? Duke has 4; Gonzaga, Indiana and Florida all have 3. Does this really matter? I’d like to think so. But it’s these particular seniors on this particular Miami team that I like. Let me direct your attention to this story.

TL;DR: Chris Bosh was at Miami playing with some of the players. Canes coach Larranaga asked Bosh how they were, and he said they didn’t work hard enough. Larranaga then took Bosh to the players where he spoke to them and called out their work ethic.

This was in summer 2011, right after Bosh and the Heat lost in the Finals to Dallas. There are 6 seniors on this team who remember that talk, and who know that Saturday’s performance was not good enough.

It’s still too early to predict the top seeds, and so much can change between now and Selection Sunday. Do the Canes still have a shot despite their loss? Is Gonzaga a legitimate contender? Send me your thoughts @TheOrangeWedge.